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Blood, Land, and Sex: Legal and Political Pluralism in Eritrea Paperback – 18 Jun 2003


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"Pateman (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) and Favali (law, Univ. of Turin, Italy) use a legal pluralist approach in an admirable attempt to unravel the intricate fabric of Eritrea's system of law. Eritrea is not atypical of African states with a population abundant in ethnic, social, linguistic, and religious diversity overlaid with a colonial past, a liberation struggle, a transitional era, and independence. For every legal issue there is a state rule, a traditional rule, and a sharia rule that may or may not differ because of divergence between state and ethnic or religious groups. Four major actors the state, ethnies (producing traditional law), religious groups (mainly Coptic Christians and Sunni Muslims), and the international/transnational community operate in this maze and define contemporary Ethiopian law. Complicating this task is the use of languages of state law, Amharic, Arabic, Italian, English, and now Tigrinya incomprehensible to many in a society dependent on oral traditions. The authors analyze Eritrea's pluralist system in case studies involving the interconnected issues of blood (vengeance, feud, money, and settlement of conflicts), property rights, and sex (marriage, gender, and women's rights). Conclusions are in abeyance because the dictatorship of Isaias Afweki is in legal limbo with a new constitution not in force. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate collections and beyond." T. M. Vestal, Oklahoma State University, 2004mar CHOICE"

About the Author

Lyda Favali is a lawyer and researcher in Comparative Law at the University of Turin, Italy. Roy Pateman is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Eritrea: Even the Stones Are Burning and Chaos and Dancing Star.

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Not surprisingly, pluralism has been at the center of the debates of theorists belonging to different disciplines. Read the first page
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